STARKVILLE, Miss.--A unique Feb. 23 recital at Mississippi State will feature musical settings of several poems by the 20th century poet T.S. Eliot.
Sponsored by the university's music department, the 7:30 p.m. program in Giles Hall auditorium is free and open to all.
"T.S. Eliot's Poetry in Song," created and organized by department instructor and accompanist Karen Murphy, is the third collaboration with Nancy Hargrove, an MSU William L. Giles Distinguished Professor Emerita of English. Hargrove will provide an illustrated presentation, as well as introductions of each musical piece.
Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was American-born, but lived in England from 1915. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.
Murphy, also the concert's pianist, said a number of guest vocalists will be featured. Several musical selections will be drawn from "Cats," the popular Andrew Lloyd Weber musical based on "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," Eliot's 1939 book of humorous verse.
Other selections and performers include:
--Two songs based on the last two poems of Eliot's 1933 work "Five Finger Exercises," the humorous "Lines Written to Ralph Hodgson, Esqr" (better known as "How delightful to meet Mr. Hodgson") and "Lines for Cuscuscaraway and Mirza Murad Ali Beg" (better known as "How unpleasant to meet Mr. Eliot"). Composed by Paul Reif in 1957, the pieces feature student sopranos Hollyn R. White of Madison and Lily G. Hudson of Columbus. Both are junior vocal majors.
--Songs composed in 2004 by John Craton to Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," written in 1911 when the poet was 22 years old. All will feature tenor Brian Nedvin, a new music department lecturer.
--Benjamin Britten's 1971 composition of "Canticle IV: Journey of the Magi," from Eliot's 1927 poem of the same title. Student performers are senior tenor Justin F. Crenshaw of Winona, freshman baritone Timothy J. Martin of Memphis, Tenn., and senior alto Annelisa B. Ramsey of Tupelo. Crenshaw is an instrumental music education major; Martin, a civil engineering major; and Ramsey, an accounting major.
--"That Shakespearian Rag," "The Cubanola Glide" and "Under the Bamboo Tree," portions of which Eliot included in his poetry and drama, performed by tenor Guy Hargrove, a retired MSU music professor.
--A concluding set of six songs from "Cats": "The Naming of Cats," featuring an ensemble of three students who will solo for individual pieces. They are "Macavity the Mystery Cat," senior soprano Roxanne E. Ditto of Vicksburg; "The Rum Tum Tugger," sophomore baritone Stephen H. Kelly of Olive Branch; and "Mr. Mistoffelees," senior baritone Aaron P. Mann of Carthage. Guy Hargrove joins them for the finale, "Memory." Ditto is a music major; Kelly and Mann, vocal music education majors.
Murphy, a University of Minnesota doctoral graduate, came to MSU in 2007. She has performed with other professionals and groups in the United States, Canada, Spain, and France.
Nancy Hargrove is an internationally known Eliot scholar whose third book, "T. S. Eliot's Parisian Year," was published late last year.
Nedvin, a University of North Texas doctoral graduate, has appeared with the New York City and Washington operas, BonnStadtOper in Germany, and Canada's Edmonton Opera. He also has performed at New York's Carnegie Hall and Chicago's Lyric Opera Center, among other venues.
Guy Hargrove has given concerts throughout the U.S. and Europe. For 16 years, he conducted the Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra.
For more information, telephone 662-325-3070.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see http://www.msstate.edu/.